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Using bibliotherapy, this book very well could be a blessing or a curse. Starting with the con - the characters in this novel are tormented by their internal conflicts. With the exception of Pearl, they are unable to overcome their angst and live productive lives. Dimmesdale withers and dies from guilt; Chillingworth is eaten alive by rage and betrayal, and dies alone and unhappy; even Hester, though becoming a respected member of the community, lives with the internal mark of her "A", never allowing herself to escape the inner or outer location of her sin. Readers of this novel could be plagued by a conviction that what is done will not leave, can not be processed, and will hover and haunt the sinner.
As a pro, however, a reader of this novel could perceive success in the lives of these characters. Hester is not beaten down by her action or by the community. She perseveres, she becomes productive and respected. Dimmesdale achieves closure in the moment of his death, confessing his sin, making peace with Hester, his daughter, and his own soul, and dying a content man. Chillingworth also appears to reach closure, accepting Dimmesdale's anticlimatic revelation and coming to terms enough to bequeath his fortune to the illegitimate Pearl. Pearl now is the best example, the daughter of a broken home, who escapes the bullying and ostracism of her youth to live a full and happy life.
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